Slovenian Railway Action
We recently spent a week in Graz in the south eastern corner of Austria. For one of our day trips we paid a visit to Maribor which is just over the border in Slovenia. Having checked timetables and car parking charges we decided to park at Spielfeld Strass and take the train. Spielfeld Strass is just a few kilometers from the border and parking at the station is free.
We arrived at about 9:50 hoping to catch a train at 10:20. This is where we learned that we had misread the timetable . Unlike all the other entries, the one for Spielfeld Strass has two columns; one for when the train arrives and one for when it departs. We had only looked at the arrivals column and seen plenty of trains arriving. We blithely assumed that they would continue on to Maribor. Big mistake. Most of the trains terminate and return to Graz . The next train we could catch was the 11:20. As we had already bought our tickets and that day had the most favourable weather forecast for the coming week, we decided to wait.
On emerging onto the station platform we saw this bulk mineral train from Slovenia:
The train was composed of a mixture of wagons from AWT and Slovenian Railways.
While we waited a diesel powered shuttle train arrived from Graz.
This train was destined to become the next train to Bad Radkersburg, a town situated in the south eastern tip of Austria just across the border from Slovenia. The line is single track and not electrified, hence the diesel power. Most of the road crossings are guarded by lights only - no barriers. This appeared to be the case with many of the minor lines we crossed during our stay in Austria.
The line to Bad Radkersburg diverges to the right and crosses the small river in Spielfeld via this bridge:
Spielfeld Strass does not have a ticket office, you buy your tickets from a machine but as we were to find out later, it is certainly not un-manned! Our first encounter was with a chap who got us to understand after several attempts - we have very little German - that the train we were to catch was an hour late and would not arrive until 12:20 .
In the meantime another service from Graz arrived. This was a push-pull unit with an interesting collection of coaches:
This coach livery is a positive encouragement to take your bike on the train to discover new places. Somewhat different to our experience in the UK I think.
The profile of this coach is quite different to the rest.
About 20 minutes before our delayed train was due, this three coach train arrived from Slovenia. It turned out to be packed to gills with passengers.
We got talking to a couple of English guys who told us the train had been held for an hour at Maribor. They had been expecting to stay on the train all the way to Vienna but everyone was told to get off on arrival at Spielfeld and transfer to a local service to Graz. Somehow this train appeared to accommodate them all but quite how packed they were, we did not find out.
All this time, the loco and driver of the bulk freight train had been waiting in his cab and making occasional visits to one of the rooms in the station building. Eventually a shunter emerged from this room, uncoupled the loco from the train and then directed him off in the direction of Graz. They returned a short time later as seen here.
It then took up a position just ahead of where the delayed inter city service would stop. The incoming loco was uncoupled and the Slovenian loco took over for the journey into Slovenia. Now I understood why there were arrival and departure times with quite a gap between them. There has to be time for the loco change over.
At this point, at least two inspector / supervisor types, two shunters and a train manager / conductor had all emerged from the office on the un-manned (for tickets) station. We also saw the station cleaner.
The inter city train arrived about an hour late and we boarded the OBB portion for the trip to Maribor. This took about 25 minutes and we had a pleasant time looking round Maribor.
On our return to Maribor station we found we had a bit of wait for our train back to Austria. There was quite a lot of activity to watch in the station. Many of the coaches and mulitple units had been "tagged", so I didn't photograph them. One of the few trains which had not been tagged was this:
It made quite a contrast with this diesel powered unit:
While we waited a shunting loco was putting together a five coach train. I thought that it might be for our return journey but it wasn't. Our return trip was on a pretty modern EMU which terminated at Spielfeld.
The railway highlight of the day was seeing the Wels-Maribor Rola service arrive . No photos but there is a video. The first part shows the freight loco pulling away from its train. The second shows the lorry train.
All in all, an interesting day from a railway point of view.
For more information on Slovenian Railways, try this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slovenian_Railways
There is some rolling stock information in this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_stock_of_the_Slovenian_Railways
Very interesting. I'm quite familar with that area, well was familiar as it's changed a bit since I was last there as I have a friend in Ljubljana that I used to visit a fair bit back in the 80s and 90s.
Interesting area for rail traffic. Nice mix.
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